The Gulf of Aqaba is renowned worldwide for its wildlife. It hosts about 110 species of soft corals, 120 species of hard corals and over 1000 species of fish.
The Oryx, an elegant white antelope, is one of the few mammals indigenous to
the Arabian Peninsula. It became extinct in Jordan around the 1920s. The last
known wild Oryx in the world was killed by hunters in Oman in 1972.
In 1978, eleven Oryx were re-located in Shaumari. The number of Oryx has now increased to a phenomenal two hundred!
Corals are not plants but living organisms. They are part of an ancient and
simple group of animals known as cnidaria. A coral structure is actually
composed of hundreds or thousands of these tiny animals growing together as a
colony. Because of their slow rate of growth, about 1cm a year, the corals that
you see in the Gulf of Aqaba are centuries old.
Because of its extremely high content of salt and other minerals, the Dead Sea
is devoid of plant and animal life.
The hills and deserts of Wadi Rum come alive during springtime with over 2000 species of wild plants and flowers, including poppies, red anemones and the beautiful black iris, which is Jordan’s national flower.
The word 'Azraq' in Arabic means "blue"
The Garden Eels, which can be seen in the abundant sea-grass beds, were discovered by Ludwig Sillner, one of Jacques Cousteau’s underwater cameramen. A fact that is acknowledged in the eel’s Latin name, Gorgasia sillneri.
ECO & NATURE
Eco & Nature Destinations
Nature trail in Ajloun Reserve.
Ajloun Nature Reserve is
located in the Ajloun highlands (North of
Amman), It consists of Mediterranean-like hill country, dominated by
open woodlands of Oak and Pistachio trees. The Reserve was first established in
1988 when a captive-breeding programme for the Roe Deer was initiated. The
reserve is located in an area named Eshtafeena. The Royal Society for the
Conservation of Nature has set up two hiking trails and provided a special area
for camping. Ajloun's woodlands consist mostly of Oak trees, interspersed with
Pistachio, Pine, Carob, and Wild Strawberry trees. These trees have been
important to local people for their wood, scenic beauty, and quite often for
medicine and food.
The Gulf of Aqaba is famous for
its marine wildlife. It is the north-eastern arm of the Red Sea, measuring a
length of 180 kilometres and expanding to a width of 25 kilometres, with a
shoreline shared by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Jordan.
The Gulf of Aqaba has the
world’s northernmost coral reef ecosystem. An average water temperature of 23°
Celsius, the absence of stormy weather, and mild water currents have created a
hospitable environment for the growth of corals. Favourable salinity levels are
perfect for the myriads of other marine life-forms. As a result, it is home to
110 species of soft corals and 120 species of hard corals. The reefs which
fringe the Gulf, host over 1000 species of fish, corals, crustaceans, and
mammals living in its waters. Nocturnal animals such as the crab, shrimp, and
lobster appear in search of food in the dark hours of the night. Seasonal
visitors to the Gulf of Aqaba include
sea turtles, dolphins, sea cows, and harmless whale sharks.
Aqaba is the only coastal city
in Jordan. This beautiful town, surrounded by fascinating colourful mountains
and the blue waters of the Red Sea, expands over 27 kilometres of shoreline on
the Gulf of Aqaba. The town is
well organized, and under continuous development. It has been designated as a
Special Economic Zone, with special legislation to protect and improve its
business, community, tourism and environment status.
Azraq is a unique
wetland oasis located in the heart of the semi-arid Jordanian eastern desert,
one of several beautiful nature reserves managed by the Royal Society for the
Conservation of Nature (RSCN). Its attractions include several natural and
ancient built pools, a seasonally flooded marshland, and a large mudflat know
as Qa'a Al-Azraq. A wide variety of birds stop at the reserve each year for a
rest during their arduous migration routes between Asia and Africa. Some stay
for the winter or breed within the protected areas of the wetland.
Dana Nature Reserve covers 308 square kilometres and is a world of natural
treasures. It is composed of a chain of valleys and mountains which extend from
the top of the Jordan Rift Valley down to the desert lowlands of Wadi Araba.
The visitor to this area will be awed by the beauty of the Rummana mountain,
the mystery of the ancient archaeological ruins of Feinan, the timeless
serenity of Dana Village and the grandeur of the red and white sandstone cliffs
of Wadi Dana. The Reserve contains a remarkable diversity of landscapes, that
range from wooded highlands to rocky slopes and from gravel plains to dunes of
sand. Moreover, Dana supports diverse wildlife which includes a variety of rare
species of plants and animals; Dana is home to about 600 species of plants, 37
species of mammals and 190 species of birds.
Elegant Nubiani in Wadi Mujib.
The Mujib Reserve is the lowest nature reserve in the world, with a spectacular
array of scenery near the east coast of the
Dead Sea. The reserve is located within the deep Wadi Mujib gorge,
which enters the Dead Sea at 410 metres below sea level. The Reserve extends to
the Karak and
Madaba mountains to the north and south, reaching 900 metres above sea
level in some places. This 1,300 metre variation in elevation, combined with
the valley's year- round water flow from seven tributaries, means that Wadi
Mujib enjoys a magnificent bio-diversity that is still being explored and
documented today. Over 300 species of plants, 10 species of carnivores and
numerous species of permanent and migratory birds have been recorded. Some of
the remote mountain and valley areas are difficult to reach, and thus offer
safe havens for rare species of cats, goats and other mountain animals. Mujib's
sandstone cliffs are an ideal habitat for one of the most beautiful mountain
goats in the world, the horned Ibex.
The Shawmari Reserve
was created in 1975 by the RSCN as a breeding centre for endangered or locally
extinct wildlife. Today, following breeding programmes with some of the world's
leading wildlife parks and zoos, this small, 22-square-kilometre reserve is a
thriving protected environment for some of the most rare species of animals in
the Middle East. Oryx, ostriches, gazelles and onagers, which are depicted on
many 6th Century Byzantine mosaics, are rebuilding their populations and
reasserting their presence in this safe haven, protected from hunting and
habitat destruction that nearly wiped them out.
Eagles and other large birds of prey can often be seen soaring
above the cliffs of Wadi Rum.
The moonlike landscape of Wadi Rum
is unique in the world. The desert of Rum is dotted with massive mountains,
coloured in shades of red, yellow, and orange. Their hues spill over to colour
the sand dunes around the desert and the horizon of its breathtaking panorama.
This is a place where you can become one with nature, where visitors are
humbled by the towering mountains and overwhelmed by the serenity and quiet
ambiance of this magnificent place.
The eco-system of Wadi Rum holds
many rare and endemic plants. Spring reveals hundreds of species of wild
flowers. About 120 bird species have been recorded in the area, including the
Griffon Vulture, the Fan-Tailed Raven, Bonelli’s Eagle, and Hume’s Tawny Owl.
Baseline surveys show the existence of the Grey Wolf, Blandford’s Fox, the Sand
Cat, and Ibex within the area.
One activity which keeps attracting thrill-seekers to
Wadi Rum is mountain climbing. Ascents can range from simple hikes to
serious mountain climbing more than 900 metres up sheer granite and sandstone